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HEARTS Junion '24: Ancestry, Dance, Live Grooves, and More

Join us for Junion ‘24, an exploration of local history through the lens of genealogy, along with live music, dance, nature, and more. It all happens Saturday, June 22nd, from 2:00-5:00 at Huntersville’s historic Cedar Grove, 8229 Gilead Road, Huntersville, NC. Junion ‘24 is the third annual HEARTS Happening exploring genealogical roots through the Reunion Project. Free to the community, free tickets are available at

HEARTS Happenings are designed to inspire and enhance our community’s shared sense of place. These grass-roots events are known for juxtaposing specific local history and nature with curated music, visual art, and dance in multi-faceted, place-based programs.

Andre' Kearns, HEARTS Junion '24 guest speaker

Junion ‘24’s featured speaker is genealogist Andre’ Kearns, presenting "Tracing an Emancipated Mecklenburg County Family through the 1870 U.S. Census." Says Kearns, “Just as slavery split families apart, emancipation created new families. The 1870 census was the first in which formerly enslaved people appear. These emancipated households often represent blended families, and research is required to understand how household members connect with one another.” Kearns will share how he used the 1870 census and other tools to uncover the family story of his formerly enslaved second great-grandmother Caroline. 

Kearns is a descendant of Charlotte Kerns, enslaved to James G. Torrance who built the Cedar Grove plantation. He holds degrees from Morehouse College and Harvard Business School, serves on the board of the National Genealogical Society, and is Co-chair of the HEARTS Reunion Project. 

Kearns has also been instrumental in creating a definitive list of names of those enslaved at Cedar Grove. Totaling 138 overall, these names will be presented in the halls of Cedar Grove for Junion 24’ in honor of their contributions to this land and our community. Guests are invited to share words for a collaborative poem dedicated to the ancestors of Cedar Grove.

International Groove Nation, featured musical guest for Junion 24'

Junion’s musical guest, "International Groove Nation," will bring the groove to Cedar Grove. This Charlotte-based band is a collective of talented musicians presenting the best of various styles of popular music; everything from dance tunes, rock, modern R&B, and classic soul. As they like to say, “It’s time to get into the Groove!”

Tamara Williams and the Moving Spirits, Inc. return to Cedar Grove for Junion '24.

The dance company Moving Spirits, Inc., founded in 2011 by acclaimed dancer, choreographer, and educator Tamara Williams, will also be returning to Cedar Grove. Moving Spirits, Inc. brings to life the dance traditions of the African diaspora in the American South. Williams graduated from Florida State University in 2006 with a BFA and earned her MFA in 2015 from Hollins University. In 2016 she joined the faculty of UNC Charlotte, where she is an Associate Professor of Dance. In 2021 Williams was awarded an Arts and Science Council’s Emerging Creators Fellowship for her recent study of the Ring Shout tradition.  

Next door, Hugh Torance House and Store will be open from 2:00-5:00 offering local artisan goods and fresh local honey, snacks, beer, wine, sundries, and more.  Plan to come early and/or stay late to enjoy nature and the historic grounds and tour the oldest standing store in NC. The Hugh Torance House and Store is one of Mecklenburg County’s few surviving 18th-century structures and is adjacent to Cedar Grove, the 1831 Greek Revival home of James Torrance, son of Hugh and Isabella Torance. 

Upcoming in July

Mark your calendars HEARTS Healing History 24’ - Wild in the Garden, Saturday, the 20th, from 2:00-5:00. Presenting the history and practice of the naturalistic gardening movement by botanist Aaron Kampe, along with the empowering and uplifting music of singer/songwriter Christy Snow. Details and free tickets are available at

Join Us to Help Preserve and Share Local History, Art, and Nature

HEARTS programs are FREE to the community for a reason. We believe there should be no barriers to these high-quality, deeply local, history, art, music, dance, and nature events. HEARTS Circle members are the lifeline to making this possible. In addition, our membership funds advance historic preservation in our region and much more. In appreciation, members are invited to a private gala at Cedar Grove on September 7th, 2024 for a gourmet farm-to-table dinner by the Carolina Farm Trust and music by Kyshona, exclusively for our HEARTS Circle members. Renew or become a member today to secure complimentary tickets for this year's amazing event. We thank you for your support!

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